As part of my personal commitment to bring a bit of levity to your life during these dark and uncertain times, today I am serving up an endlessly drinkable reinterpretation of the classic Sidecar cocktail and my recommendations for must-watch television.
I think we are all spending a heck of a lot more time in front of screens these days but if you want to make those hours well-spent (relatively speaking).
If you aren’t familiar with Phoebe Waller-Bridge, you need to get acquainted. She is the comic genius of our generation. Notably: you MUST watch Fleabag on Amazon Prime. She wrote and stars in this two-season comic tour de force.
Her character, Fleabag, is a horny, self-involved, struggling café owner, coping with grief, and navigating the pitfalls of modern dating and the age-old trials and tribulations of family life. She is perpetually on the verge of embarrassing herself or others. Waller-Bridge’s is a refreshing female voice in comedy that takes an unflinching look inward, exposing our myriad failures and imperfections but finding the humour in each.
Once you’ve finished Fleabag (sadly there won’t be a third season) direct your attention to Crashing on Netflix, also written by and starring Waller-Bridge. Her chemistry and timing with her costars is undeniable as she plays a wayward vagrant who has reconnected with her male childhood best friend and begins squatting with him, his neurotic, insecure fiancée and their merry band of fools.
As in Fleabag, there is a heavy focus on sex and the messiness that comes with it.
Once you’ve burned through Fleabag and Crashing, discover Killing Eve over on Crave. Also written by Waller-Bridge, Killing Eve is the story of the unfulfilled, desk-bound security services operative Eve, played by Sandra Oh, who yearns to be a spy. She is assigned to a special task force to track down the talented and enigmatic female assassin, Villanelle, played by Jodie Comer.
The two become obsessed with one another through an epic game of cat-and-mouse. The costume design is fabulous from Villanelle’s designer confections, to Eve’s shabby workwear, to Carolyn’s (Eve’s to-the-point superior) flawless tailoring. Waller-Bridge’s genius comes through in the sharp-tongued dialogue and effortless humour.
There are two seasons of Killing Eve on Crave so that should give you enough to watch until next week anyway, when combined with the other two recommendations.
Let me speak briefly about this cocktail. The Sidecar is a classic three-ingredient cocktail made with brandy, lemon juice, and orange liqueur. In this reinvention, I’ve swapped out brandy for apple brandy, specifically Calvados and pulled the orange liqueur, getting sweetness instead from a honey syrup. While the Sidecar is generally not shaken with egg white, I like the frothy foam that it imparts and the velvety mouthfeel. I’ve added a couple dashes of Black Walnut bitters to balance the sweetness and acidity – it creates a beautiful counterpoint to the honey and apple notes.
Dry shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker (without ice). Add ice. Shake again and strain into a coupe glass.
Combine honey and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until honey is fully incorporated. Cool to room temperature. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
*Those who would prefer not to use egg white can leave it out or substitute for one ounce of aquafaba (chickpea brine).